David Patchen is my hero. After 20 years in the corporate world, he took an introductory class in glass blowing and fell in love with the medium. Though he did return to his day job, he managed to cut back to part time so he could spend more time focusing on glass techniques. After 10 years of part-time work, he was able to leave the corporate world behind and pursue his passion full time.
The rest of his training was self-directed. He learned by watching other glass artists and then developing his own skills through trial and error. That’s exactly the kind of path that appeals to me, too. Then in 2004, Patchen met someone who put him in touch with renowned Italian glassblower Afro Celotto, who invited him to his studio in Murano.
“I had done a lot of Italian-style work, but I was struggling with the techniques. Afro was kind enough to allow me to visit his studio and hang out with his team. They didn’t speak English, but I learn well by watching and I saw him move efficiently and smoothly through all the things I was struggling with. That greatly improved my abilities in the hot shop.”
After his Italy experience, Patchen started incorporating cane glass elements in the Murano style into his work while still retaining the modern, organic feel of his earlier pieces. As you can see, the results are spectacular.
All images property of David Patchen.